Friday, October 9, 2015

Greek debt is not sustainable at the moment and Greek authorities must carry out more reforms to the country's pension system and in the way Greek banks are managed, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund said yesterday (8.10).
Presenting a Global Policy Agenda at the World Bank-IMF annual meetings in Lima, Peru, Lagarde reiterated that the IMF was willing to provide assistance to Greece as requested, provided Greece’s debt is reduced to sustainable levels and that significant reforms are implemented, principally in the country’s pension system and in bank governance.

In its latest World Economic Outlook report released October 6, the IMF trimmed its eurozone growth outlook to 1.5 percent this year, warning that a modest recovery remains hostage to market pressure risks , if uncertainty returns in relation to the implementation of Greece’s third bailout programme.  

The IMF's Fiscal Monitor Report has also revised its estimates as regards the Greek budget primary balance and the debt from the targets that the bailout agreement had set in August, asserting that additional measures for the Greek economy may have to be introduced, if Greece is to meet its 2015 primary deficit targets of 0.25%, as that is prescribed by the bailout. 

The Greek FinMin Euclid Tsakalotos is attending the IMF/WB annual meetings and will be holding over the weekend a series of meetings with both IMF and US officials.  This week, during the parliamentary debate on the government’s policy statement, Tsakalotos has reassured that Greece's economy will suffer a less severe recession this year than assumed last August, given some more encouraging indications from the third quarter.

Whilst it may almost constitute common knowledge that austerity affects women disproportionately, academic research has also emerged to support this understanding:  “Women and Austerity: The Economic Crisis and the Future for Gender Equality” (Routledge, 2013) is a serious attempt to identify the ways in which the current economic crisis and the ensuing austerity policies negatively impact women in Europe and the US. 

Written from the perspective of feminist economics, it traces the consequences for gender equality in employment and welfare systems in nine case studies from countries such as Greece, Portugal and the US, documenting both the common experiences and the variations in the impact of the crisis on women. 

In addition to documenting these gendered effects of the crisis, the contributors to this volume systematically examine the ramifications for future efforts to advance the goal of gender equality.

The book has just been published in Greek and was presented yesterday (8 Oct) at Panteion University by its two co-editors:  Maria Karamessini, head of the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) and Professor of Labour Economics at Panteion, and Jill Rubery, Professor of Comparative Employment Systems at Manchester University.  

More on Gender Research in Greece: General Secretariat  for Gender EqualityCentre of Gender Studies at Panteion University; Postgraduate Program in Gender and Women  at Aegean University.

Motorsport enthusiasts focus on Greece this weekend, October 10-11, as the SEAJETS Acropolis Rally 2015 is once again bringing together the best crews from the European Rally Championship and the Greek Rally Championship. Demanding and spectacular, the two-day event draws the top contenders for the European and national titles, who will race on the intricate and difficult surfaces of the Greek mountains.
The well known “Acropolis Rally” this year will run under the official name “SEAJETS 2015 Acropolis Rally”, since the event is organized for the first time by the Hellenic Motorsport Federation  (OMAE) and the Seajets shipping company. A preview of the top spec cars will be part of the spectacle, and spectators will have the chance to see top drivers performing behind the wheels of famous racing cars.

The rally is concentrated around Loutraki, a seaside resort on the Corinthian Bay, 65 km west of Athens, well-known for its natural mineral water springs, its therapeutic spas and the stunning surrounding landscape. The route consists of 9 special stages, including the 43 km length “SEAJETS Kineta-Loutraki”  (Saturday Oct 10), followed by the “EKO Racing Kineta” that will run in darkness.
Struggle and Success  

In a recent publication (GreekAmericans: Struggle and Success, Transaction Pub., 2013) Professor Peter C. Moskos undertook the work of revising a cornerstone of Greek American studies written in 1980 by his father Charles C. Moskos. The first and second edition (1987) of the book charted the landscape of Greek immigrant experience, giving a snapshot of Greek-American life grounded on a narrative that evolved around the telling subtitle “Struggle and Success”. It is the story of generations of immigrants who maintain an attachment to Greek ethnic identity, even as they became one of America’s most successful ethnic groups. 

This completely revised edition includes an introduction by Michael Dukakis and blends sociological insight with historical detail, expands themes such as the daily life of working-class early immigrants, their trials and tribulations, the Greek Orthodox Church, Greek American politics, success in the new country and the future of Greek-American identity. 

Reviews: Kostis Karpozilos, Journal of Modern Greek Studies (May 2015), Gregory Jusdanis, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies (Fall 1991)

Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora (1987): The Greeks in America; Modern Greek Studies Association: The Greek American Studies Resource Portal

Greek - American Radicals: Untold Stories 

From the time of the Great Depression to the demise of ethnic radicalism in the 50s, the documentary “Ταξισυνειδησία / Greek-American Radicals: the Untold Story” brings forth an alternative vision of Greek-American history that highlights the transformations and multiple interrelations between ethnicity, class and radicalism. 

In an interview with the Journal of Modern Greek Studies (May 2015), Kostis Karpozilos, the historian behind the bilingual (64’) documentary,  underlines that “Greek American communities are trapped in the narrative of “struggle and success” - which has shifted from labour and economic assimilation to an understanding of success in an entirely folkloric fashion… this narrative promotes a sense of Greek exceptionalism that does not correspond to the historical and contemporary interactions between Greek and other immigrant/ethnic groups and American society in general.”   

Karpozilos also notes that in relation to the global economic crisis there is a renewed interest in debates relating to social questions, and it is within this context that dissenting voices and relevant documentaries come forth. 

See also: Greek-American Radicals - Trailer; Other recent productions on Greek - American Radicalism: Palikari - Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (2014); Dan Georgakas - A Diaspora Rebel (2014)